09/22/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

What I Will Be Looking for at the Political Conventions

I've written before about the simple steps people can take to help reduce energy use and cut global warming pollution. To the list of things you can do--such as buying efficient air conditioners and pumping up your tires--I want to add one more: turn on your television and watch the political conventions.

How is that a global warming solution? Because the power of the individual to help curb climate change doesn't just lie in the energy and consumer choices you make. It also requires you to flex your political muscle as a voter.

We need to tell our representatives what we think. We need to email them, call them, or send them letters declaring that clean, affordable energy is a top priority for us.

But we also need to know where the candidates and their parties stand on the issues. That is where the television comes in.

In the next two weeks, I will be watching both conventions with a few pointed questions in my mind.

• These are the leaders of the parties. Are they talking about global warming?
• Are they focusing on solving the energy crisis?
• Do they take these issues seriously?
• Do they have global warming on the platform?
• Are global warming and clean energy a meaningful part of Obama's and McCain's speeches?

I encourage you to do the same. And remember what you learn when November rolls around.