Broadening the Climate Movement: The Marcha das Margaridas’ Agenda for the Climate (and Other) Crises

Climate movements led by students and the youth worldwide (and in particular, those in richer economies) have been recognized as having a formidable voice and making important contributions towards a more radical societal transformation to face the climate crisis. However, little is said about the contribution of popular sectors, who have been mobilizing for decades and demanding broader structural transformations—with proposals that tackle environmental issues more broadly and the climate crisis in particular—but who are not directly involved in climate politics arenas, such as the United Nations Climate Change conferences. Usually portrayed as vulnerable, as those most affected by climate events, as victims and receivers of adaptation strategies, or, as resilient, rarely do popular sectors appear as agents of transformation. Critical scholars have advocated for understanding the climate crisis as part of multiple crises, including the biodiversity crisis, a crisis of care, and a crisis of democracy. Situating our article within this scholarship, we argue that the scholarly and societal debate on climate change will further benefit from broadening the scope of which social subjects are considered as part of the climate movement. Based on our research with rural popular feminist movements in Brazil, and in particular, the coalition Marcha das Margaridas, we address the following questions: how are their diagnostics of, and proposals to, overcome the climate crisis embedded in their broader project of transformation? Additionally, how does their political identity within class, gender, and rural categories of inequality inform their positions?