Life is resilient. Evolution provides a lot of tools for adaptation. But organisms can only change so much, so fast. The fossil record provides thousands of examples of organisms that could not adapt to abruptly changing conditions and became extinct.
During a recent presentation about Hokule'a's worldwide voyage, Polynesian Voyaging Society president Nainoa Thompson remarked that if you want to save the Earth, save the ocean. "Out of four breaths you take," he said, "three come from the ocean."