Frontiers of confidence in child-rearing

“Climate anxiety is widespread among youth—can they overcome it?” (National Geographic):

Katie Cielinski and Aaron Regunberg are millennials. But they regard themselves as climate change babies. They came of age as the world was first awakening to the catastrophic impact that people were having on the environment.

Before marrying in 2017, the couple wrestled for nearly a decade with the ethical quandary of whether to bring another human onto an already crowded planet. Katie argued for raising a climate ally, somebody who would fight for a healthy planet, but Aaron feared for the future their child would face.

Meanwhile, Katie Cielinski and Aaron Regunberg are getting on with their lives. They resolved their uncertainty and their son, Asa, was born in March, 2021. They live in Providence, Rhode Island. Katie, a lawyer, works as a public defender. Aaron, who served four years in the state legislature, graduated from Harvard Law School last month. After a clerkship with a federal judge, he plans to practice environmental law.

“I want there to be good people in this generation to fight for what is right,” says Katie, explaining why they became parents.

“What finally got me was coming to an understanding that the fight for a livable future can’t just be about survival and stability,” Aaron says. “It’s also got to be a fight to keep our world from becoming a poorer, darker, lonelier place. For Katie and me, embracing that meant having this baby and teaching him about all the stuff there is to love in this world and committing our lives to fighting for him and, at some point, alongside him and alongside every other kid facing this uncertain future.”

There is no chance of the teenager rebelling in 2037 by burning some fossil fuel!

With their single child, produced after more than 10 years of dithering, I wonder if these folks will become another data point in the U-shaped fertility curve for the U.S.:

21 thoughts on “Frontiers of confidence in child-rearing

  1. They came of age as the world was first awakening to the catastrophic impact that people were having on the environment.

    What an extraordinary statement. Bertrand Russell was already concerned about overpopulation, the Club of Rome predicted a dire future around 1970, feeling guilty about having children was a recurring theme among the classical left since the student revolts, see e.g. Stallman on the topic:

    [This virtuous article will of course not “redeem” Stallman in the eyes of the “modern” left, because they have found about 30 lines of wrongthink in 500,000+ lines that he wrote publicly.]

  2. Environmental law is a good living. Wonder how many grocery bag bans, staw bans, & gas stove bans it took for environmental lawyers to finally make 7 figures. We need more blog lawyers though. There are too many humans & not enough lions.

    • Grocery and other businesses are being forced to do a way with their plastic bags. They must use paper bags or close ship and of course they charge customers per paper bag. This all makes sense once you think about the many other items that you get from a grocery store that are in plastic bag, wraps or boxes.

      I think everyone should do what Costco does, for bagging, offer you free carboard boxes or offer you nothing.

    • Lion,

      It seems like Pride Month should be very good for lions.

      The lions are the breeders, and the others are the feeders.

  3. I never thought that Idiocracy the movie was that close to reality TV. As the movie ages it is becoming more and more of a documentary.

    • Idiocracy is bound to happen, I’m only surprise that it is happening sooner than later.

      “The trend started, unsurprisingly, in Silicon Valley in 2014, when Facebook and Apple began offering egg freezing to their employees as part of their benefits package.”

      “In the UK, companies like banking group, NatWest and energy firm, Centrica, offer up to £45 000 per employee for an appropriate treatment or service.”

      Full story is here:

    • Roger: I won’t bet against you! The idea of taking care of a child from age 60-90 (or beyond, given how long it takes kids to mature?) probably seems a lot more appealing to a 35-year-old than it does to a 59-year-old.

    • Philip, this type of thinking that helicopter parents need to take care of children puts negative selective pressure on the overall population. Would we have new Edison, Tesla or Einstein if their parents hired private tutors to get them into top colleges and planned to fund their offspring at least through law school?
      Children, when there are many of them, take care of themselves. It is well known phenomena that first child in large family is usually over-achieving his/her siblings, probably due to doing extra work of taking care of them.

    • > Children, when there are many of them, take care of themselves.

      The current line of reasoning from the right-wing is that the spate of mass shooting are the result of lack of father figures in the home.

    • Australia Anon: certainly no society in the history of humanity has ever decided (via cash incentives) to have as high a percentage of its children in fatherless homes. (About 2X the percentage compared to Europe; references some stats.) Parents splitting up is more damaging psychologically to kids than the death of a parent. So we should expect to have more damaged adults now, 50 years after our no-fault divorce revolution, than any other society.

      Separately, I don’t read the comment about helicopter parents above as an argument against daily parental involvement. It was an argument against parental involvement at 2-minute intervals.

    • I find it interesting that Big companies will pay for the cost of abortion (in states that make it hard to have one) and will also pay for freezing eggs (in any state) — but yet CEO’s won’t take a pay cut to save the jobs of those vulnerable women when the shit hits the fan.

    • I hit “Post” too early on my above comment.

      I meant to also add that Big companies see having a family and raising kids as hurting their bottom line.

  4. The selective pressure for breeding is thus weighted towards those that don’t buy into the propaganda?

  5. The Baby Boom (and slightly Post-boom) generation have succeeded in creating a world that is an emotional, intellectual and spiritual nightmare for their children. Exactly the opposite of what they intended, which is more often than not the case when you start paving roads with the Best Intentions. They have created so many industries that are dedicated to inventing grief and inflicting it on us that I think we really should consider just going back to hair shirts.

    Because human beings can’t do anything other than imprison themselves in the long term.

  6. When I read things like this, I just shake my head and really a part of is full of pity for things like this:

    > Before marrying in 2017, the couple wrestled for nearly a decade with the ethical quandary of whether to bring another human onto an already crowded planet.

    So they spent ten years in a relationship. I presume they were enjoying sexual intercourse for most of that time – but they delayed the decision of whether to bear children for a decade, wrestling with the colossal, titanic ethical quandary of whether or not to burden the world with another quasi-random admixture of their respective DNA strands. And also, of course, build their careers – that part probably wasn’t mentioned as an “ethical quandary” because I’m sure they both wanted to shift their prime child-rearing years into career-building.

    Back in the late 1980s, a slightly eccentric but brilliant author of fiction, metafiction and sometimes “bang on” truth named John Barth wrote a novel called the Tidewater Tales, which begins with a beautiful poem featuring a woman 8.5 months pregnant. When Katherine Sherritt Sagamore (the Blue Blooded one) set her Blue-collared husband the task, she notes that they waited so long to toil to conceive a child who might be “H-Bomb Fried” in a world that’s aboard a “Handbasket Bound for Hell.”


    You can borrow the book for an hour at and the poem begins on Page 24. The rest of the novel is a fun but rather difficult read. Let it never be said that John Barth couldn’t find a way to complicate a plot so that you need 140+ IQ to follow his stories. Or not. But it’s pretty good.

    My point is that even WAY BACK IN 1987 educated, ambitious and intelligent high-achievers were burning their candles down to the nubs with worry about whether to burden the Earth with one (or more) of their offspring. But back then it was Ronald Reagan that made them upset, for the most part.

    Of course, that only lasted for two terms and then something new had to come along to consume their worried minds. Voila! The Earth Has a Fever! It’s an Inconvenient Truth!

    But a decade? To solve an “ethical quandary?” I have to wonder how well Harvard, etc. teach people to think when it takes them a decade to solve an “ethical quandary” about one of the most basic acts of human existence. How much did they pay for their degrees?

  7. Meanwhile Elon Musk just blasted out two more kids. He’s going to be the genetic Genghis Khan of our time

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