Dear Editor, Michael Ventura writes, "Since humanity is a product of Nature, anything we create or do is a further product of Nature. We are Nature doing something to itself" [“Letters @ 3am,” March 3]. While this is more or less true, we might do well to review the types of plants and animals found in nature. There are those that are predatory, those that are parasitic, and those that are symbiotic. While much of the balance of nature is kept by relationships of predator and prey (with the predator often the prey of something else), this is a largely violent affair. The prospect of "civilization" has much to do with womankind elevating herself from certain, but not all, predatory behaviors. So, if we look at man's effect on the earth, in which of these categories does he fall? Are we "a storm," or are we conscious, voracious parasites, and is either really a good or natural thing? Ventura also notes, "[we speak of] God the Father, God the Great Mother, Mother Earth – beautiful concepts in many ways, but these metaphors reject complexity." Rather than assign God a gender or think of God as an It, I like to think God is inclusive of both genders. The concept of hermaphrodite is repulsive to most, however, and either gender will do. As for the earth and nature, I prefer to think that the most appropriate gender assignment is female. To paraphrase Vonnegut from his latest set of essays: When we've killed the last living thing on the planet, Earth, in a voice perhaps hovering over the Grand Canyon, might say, "Forgive them, they know not what they do." The irony is we know what we are doing.