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The Century of the Old

In April 2010, Fred Pearce wrote an essay for The New Scientist titled "The Shock of the Old," which he adapted from his new book, The Coming Population Crash. In the essay Fred wrote that "of all the people in human history who ever reached the age of 65, half are alive now."

Something about that fact struck a chord with readers and, almost instantly, the phrase was being quoted, tweeted, retweeted, blogged, and forwarded all over the web. From well known writers and journalists to enthusiastic readers, it seemed everyone was moved to share this surprising information about our aging society.

In this video, Fred Pearce tries to answer the question of why this particular phrase made such an impact on people, and what an aging society will mean for our future.



Beginning today, Pearce will be taking part in a forum discussion about population issues, hosted by Mother Jones. To take part in the conversation, click here and leave a question for Fred Pearce or one of the other experts (including another Beacon Press author, Courtney E. Martin) weighing in on the issue.