Our Future || Caring for planet is a moral responsibility

I am a grandmother with eight grandchildren. Sometimes I lie awake at night worrying about how our changing climate is going to affect their future.

Seeing those little faces looking up at you, I feel we're betraying the trust of these future generations by not taking care of this beautiful planet.

I attend the church of Our Lady of Fatima at Kingsgrove.

And while I pray for the Earth's future, I also know that we must stand and act together. Our leaders must be persuaded to take moral responsibility.

That's why last week the organisation I'm involved with, the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, released an open letter to the Prime Minister asking him to make the climate the No.1 priority.

It was signed by 153 religious leaders from across the spectrum, many of them in very senior roles.

Climate change and the burning of fossil fuels is a moral issue. Saving the world is a spiritual matter. I don't interpret spiritual as "other worldly".

Spirituality for me is about being responsible and reasonable, which shows in healthy relationships.

You see the fruits in laughter, peace and kindness towards each other. In his time on earth, Jesus himself was less interested in rules and who was or wasn't praying.

He was interested in who was caring about people, especially people who are suffering.

Today, the people who have been hit hardest by climate change are mostly in developing countries, and they've done nothing to contribute to the problem.

Those suffering most in Australia are largely people in rural and regional areas. They are on the frontline of droughts, bushfires, intense heat and flooding, left grieving for lost herds and ruined crops.

But people in these areas are being sold short by politicians who are not planning for a more sustainable future, which includes an orderly transition away from the mining and burning of fossil fuels.

Many other nations are making big commitments to reduce emissions but Australia is out of step.

Our elected representatives may think politics is not about religion or spirituality. But it is about morality and caring about people.

Our letter calls on them to put caring about people and the planet above the short-term interests of big business. It's that simple.

Thea Ormerod is president of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change