FOMO can't justify thirst for congresses, Dutch duo argues

2020 06 11 22 27 7342 Fomo 400

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is often given as a reason for attending medical meetings onsite, but it doesn't provide sufficient justification for radiology's failure to take strong action to reduce its carbon footprint, according to an editorial published on 10 June in European Radiology.

"Missing opportunities to collaborate or network for research purposes, publishing less frequently or in less high-impact journals, and diminished visibility are among these feared reasons," wrote Dr. Derya Yakar, PhD, and Dr. Thomas Kwee, PhD, both from the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands.

"However, we seriously need to ask ourselves at what cost? If by our actions we contribute, even in a very indirect manner, to undernutrition, malaria, coastal floods, diarrhea, heat stress, and dengue, we urgently need to change the way we think and behave," they added.

Air travel to international radiology meetings adds to the world's carbon footprint, and radiologists need to do their part to improve the situation, Yakar and Kwee argued.

Understanding why large numbers of radiologists continue to travel to international conventions, such as RSNA, despite many more online lectures and materials being made available online, is the key to lowering the carbon footprint, the authors wrote.

"If the international crisis caused by the new coronavirus has taught us one thing, then it is societies' ability to act fast and rigorously when convinced of the seriousness of a situation," they concluded. "We as radiologists can choose to be part of the solution; it is time we step up the pace of renewal soon rather than tackling the issue of climate change too late."

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