Climate change exacerbates historical drivers of extinction. 89% of recent extinctions occurred on < 3% of earth’s surface made up of islands and freshwaters. Invasive species are the main cause of these extinctions. This creates a huge opportunity for climate change adaptation because invasive species can often be eradicated from islands and freshwaters, resulting in spectacular recoveries of threatened species and aquatic food webs that support larger landscapes. Restoring islands by eradicating invasive species has protected 3% of highly threatened vertebrates. Similar restoration of freshwaters is less developed, but has even more potential to prevent extinctions and increase climate change resilience.