Many of us are probably immune to bad news about rising sea levels, shrinking forests and other markers of environmental devastation.
We shrug and carry on, certain that whatever the solution is, it's out of our hands.
But occasionally a statistic can cut through our apathy. Such as the news that there are now only 70,000 kiwi, which is bewildering. Not because it's an especially low number - if it described the total of Labour Party members, for instance, it would be considered remarkably high. But in this case it represents a drop of 30,000 in the quarter century in which we have been making organised efforts to save the wee mites.
Surely cause for concern. Something must be going wrong. How does Michelle Impey, the head of Kiwis for Kiwi, the organisation that has taken on the job of rescuing the national icon, see it?
"We are definitely making an impact and we are trending the right way, but the reality is we are losing more than we are saving and we need to do more," said Impey at the start of the fundraising Save Kiwi Month.
If I were a kiwi I'd be seriously concerned. Which bit of that is supposed to make sense?
Would she describe the total extinction of kiwi as a clean slate and a great chance to start again having shaken off the baggage of the past?
There's nothing special about kiwi. New Zealand is part of a global disaster that has seen the population of animals halve between 1970 and 2010, the World Wildlife Fund estimates.
The cause? Us, our greed for habitat and refusal to stop polluting the planet.
We may not be able to do much individually about every bunny and bear, but we can choose not to support anything that endangers wildlife and to support anti-pollution measures.
A new road that wipes out the home of a few obscure frogs may not seem that big a deal, but in reality it's part of a pattern of environmental destruction. Doing without that road, refusing to cut down that forest, banning consumption of that fish may make life less comfortable for us in the short term, but the long-term alternative is too grim to contemplate.
Speaking of terrible alternatives brings us, inevitably, to the Labour Party. Anyone who, during the dirty politics brouhaha, argued that although everybody may have done it no one did it on the scale that National did can feel vindicated this week.
David Cunliffe and his wife, Karen Price, proved it. The revelation of her fake Twitter account confirmed that the Labour Party is as inept at dirty politics as it is at every other function required of a group wishing to form a government.
Even sadder was the sight of many on the so-called left rushing in to defend her actions with a patronising "good on the little lady for standing by her man" commentary. Except the lady didn't stand by her man - an invented person called Tarnbabe67 did.
Creating a fake identity to attack someone's opponents anonymously is not a good thing to do. It is dirty politics 101.
At least it brought relief from reports of polls asking people who they thought should be the leader of the Labour Party. Surely this is only of interest to someone who might vote Labour - a demographic whose numbers are now so small they could best be described as a cult.
If you want to choose the Labour Party leader, join the Labour Party and vote for him or her. Then let me know and I'll have someone assigned to administer your affairs.