Each patch of the coat is a piece of blanket sewn together in which people wrote their hopes and fears in the face of climate breakdown. There is also a song – ‘The Song of the Coat of Hopes’, written and sung by Barbara – that is traditionally sung whenever a new person puts it on.
The thought behind putting the coat on is to invite the wearer to feel its weight and warmth and to step briefly into being the protagonist in the climate breakdown story, and for the wearer to speak their own griefs, remembrances, prayers or hopes for their local area.
At a public event at Coast Café, in Worthing, Barbara met youth mayor Henny Sonnemann-Petty, and asked her about her hopes for Worthing.
Henny said when she moved to Worthing from London, she took on the ability to connect with nature and wants to help protect it, and hoped people can spread awareness of the things that need to be done in an accessible, encouraging and fun way.
Emma Cameron, the event organiser and trustee of the new Worthing Climate Emergency Centre, said: “My experience of wearing the coat was that, in those moments, it enabled me to notice my deep connection to the earth and my own power, briefly unaffected by the demands of others and the urgency I often feel about the climate emergency.”