1 year ago
I believe the author is saying something akin to "What does not kill me makes me stronger." That's why my earlier response was relating pollution to an evolutionary force.
In other words, pollution, so long as it does not kill everyone outright, forces the human species to develop tolerance to pollution. However, this outlook is not only Machiavellian, it also takes the untenable position that pollution is somehow worth enduring rather than being eliminated.
The phrase might easily have come from an apologist for raw industry in opposition to the efforts of environmentalists.