Tag Archives: manifesto

Protest and Gratitude

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I’ve realised what this book is (!)

This book is my protest and activism. My expression of gratitude, joy and creativity. some good friends helped me put the nail on the head of what it is I’ve been doing and I thank them for it!

(I’ve at times billed myself as a failed environmentalist and activist – a bit defeatist. It aint over til it’s over and every drop in the ocean…)

The crowd fund ends mid November 2013… If you can, please pre order a book! I need your help!

tree 347

Trees, – the great lungs of the world. The largest single offering from out of the Earth. We take them for granted. We appreciate them if we take notice. We explore them as children; our bodies remembering the primal experience. Physical. It’s why hands were invented. (?) Rooted and reaching. Seasonally evolving. It’s magic, what comes out of a tiny seed. The ancient, solid weather beaten bark clad trunk supporting all the fractal mass above. Supporting the weight of an artist and his co-climber/s.

Tree 330 uptrees a

The tree, – what a simple genius idea, living in two worlds, clutching the packed ground with its feet and toes to be able to spread its arms into the CO2 it craves. Tunnelling up and down to consume our leftovers. Negotiating the darkness and light. Imperceptible growth. Steady. Adaptable. Each one of these curious life forms are unique providers for us and home to millions.

Symbols of sustainability. You recycle, drive less, sign an online petition, eat less meat and plant trees; the typical actions of someone trying to do something to stop the madness against the planet.


We’re basically screwed, unless we the conscious rise up higher than we think we’re able soon and push our seed heads through the bullshit, –  over haul our collective actions. We all need to do more than our bit until the biosphere is fixed or baked. If the shit is going to hit the fan then it will and there’s not a lot we can do about it anyway. But if there’s a chance to turn it around we have to take it. Right?

I feel the pressure of how badly we’re ballsing this world up, and the audacity to give fixing it a whirl.

I’m an artist / writer / filmmaker who set about climbing a tree every day as a personal challenge. Climbing trees is more fun with good company, and pretty quickly I realised I’d planted the seeds for a book. Allow me to introduce myself: Henrik G Dahle, 36. 5,9. Blonde.


It’s possibly whimsical and frivolous to frame the ideas of a disgruntled / joyful radical within the childlike activity of climbing trees for a year but it is what it is; a sprawling smorgasbord of thoughts and ideas along with images of 365 beautiful trees. I think it’s important to keep play in the equation of world change. It’s disarming. Changing the shit out of our destructive systems should be fun.

The book is the story of a creative walk about, with the company of more than 80 inspiring people. It will contain frivolous memories of tree climbing, and will try and challenge us / me to act. To bother. To fight and keep climbing until we win, (or lose).

As the project went on I discovered a deeper connection with… well everything actually. It became a family tree project. This is in large part why I wanted to crowd fund to make it possible; a collaboratively enabled conclusion to the thing. I’m a romantic.


In this vein I’m asking for artists / illustrators / children to draw a tree for the book. Collaboration is how we’ll dig and build our way out of this fine mess we’re in. I’m not an island and neither are you or the strange guy down the street. As with the ideas of my co-climbers – they have given dimension to the project I couldn’t hope to discover on my own. How many dimensions can I fit into ‘The Art of Climbing Trees’? A brilliant example of this added value is a tree drawn by ‘alternative / independent’ midwife Virginia Valli. It’s what a placenta looks like. A placenta looks like a tree and her placenta tree will be going in the book. I’m not asking for conceptually interesting trees from everyone – an oblong with a blob on top by your five year old niece can be a welcome dimension too.

placenta tree2

I wish I could afford to give books away to all contributors but I’m only able to offer a discount. Full details of drawing trees for the book can be found here.

This book is just a beginning; my first public offering of a kind of activism. The year of research and play has inspired me to think big, global and definitive (if that doesn’t sound too grandiose). First though I need to finish this Adventure and Manifesto as a thank you to everyone who gave me their wisdom and humour up trees, put me up in 10 countries around Europe, and waited patiently while I did my daily climb. I threw all my money, time and energy out of the trees to make something unusual and useful so I owe it to myself to complete it as well. It’s being born.


If you’d also like to be a part of the project with a drawn tree or / and by pre ordering the book to help get it printed then I will be ridiculously grateful. The crowd funding continues until mid November 2013. Please watch the crowd funding film for more details and the spectacle of moving pictures.

Thank yoU! Thank yU, thank U.

Henrik (the grateful protestor)

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Manifesto part 2. The elephant.

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Honesty, I’m trying to inspire you to support the UpTrees book fund. I’m elaborating on who I am and therefore what angle this Adventure book & manifesto will take. Does my particular view resonate? Do you like the way I write? DO you like the images? DO you like me? These are the questions an advertiser will ask. Suddenly I’m in advertising. Advertising for revolution, and a book containing conversations uptrees, photography and your drawings?!

I need your help!

So who is this Henrik ‘G’ Dahle writing a so called manifesto?


Me falling out of a tree. Always plan falling out of a tree, then you don’t have to get hurt.

I’m a collector and assembler / creator. I take snippets of ideas and run with them. I harvest from what I see, hear, read and feel, and create a map of the ideas I think are right and just. This search for the truth or the way for us to go forward, to fix the problems comes from a well of irritation, anger and concern for the chaos needlessly thrust on us and that we collude with. ‘That it doesn’t have to be this way’. It comes from having vision and knowledge we can do things better. This is what most politicians or thinkers would argue motivates them too. The fixers (?). We all stand looking at the problems from a certain vantage point, the blind people touching different parts of the elephant and describing it in different ways, “No the elephant is like a snake, the end is soft and blows air”, another says “it is massive, expansive, is rough and dry”.


Nature tried the beech first, then took some of the concept and applied it to the elephant. It’s a crazy idea. Some of the craziest ideas are dumb but fun.

To get a clear picture of the elephant we have to communicate and share each other’s vantage point and perhaps that’s one of my projects. To gather the information in little taster parcels from the different blind people. I don’t have one project. I’m not a master of one subject. I’m not that focussed or disciplined, I’m interested in almost everything and my memory is appalling. uptrees_tangent_head The problem with these blind witnesses is when their description gets sullied by motivations other than to convey what they see with their hands. Their integrity is compromised by financial interests or the need to be right. An economist might only want to see one part of the system – that copper mining creates jobs and therefore builds schools, but chooses to ignore what the scientist is telling her from a different vantage point, that this kind of mining is giving the community cancer and poisoning the rivers. The whole system needs examining from all angles. You might call it being holistic. Whole istic. We need to do this now and then get the dead wood out of power unless they embrace the whole.

Am I stating the obvious?

A right wing politician believes that it’s about each person for themselves. Work hard and earn your right to comfort. Let the market decide. Freedom to exploit anyone and anything so long as they consent to your price. Competition is healthy because it drives innovation. Private enterprise will forge the solutions we need. If you use it, you pay for it. If you can’t afford it, you need to work harder. Freedom and biodiversity born out of competition are supposed to be good elements of this world view (although capitalism will necessarily swallow up smaller ideas and companies, homogenising as they grow), and… anna widen forest -02 These ideas are born out of separatism; us and them. It doesn’t recognise that the system is a whole. It is fluid and all the parts of the elephant are actually connected. Global capitalism is a massive pyramid scheme. It works agains democracy since the individual at the top will necessarily have more power to influence government and where the energy in this crazy ‘civilisation’ flows, – which ideas get put in the elephant’s trough. That’s a big problem when democracy is based on informed decisions. This kind of thinking is fundamental to what I’m putting together in The Art of Climbing Trees along with a crap load of other tangental creativity.

…anthropology, education, media, trade, love, sacrifice, resurrection, renewal, gender, revolution, exploitation, climbing trees, nature, romance, waste, biology, poetry, collaboration, imagination, philosophy, sex, economics, play, inspiration, death, protest, birth, demographics, a general strike, a world general strike, transport, communication, science, experience, you, we, us…


Another kind of pyramid with a relation to capitalism. Maybe.

I’m wandering off message: I’m the collector with ‘If only’ for a mantra. If only there was solidarity and love and sensitivity to the whole. And ‘there could be – if only’. I see a toilet seat and think – that can be better. It’s the same for rubbish collection and global harmony. It maybe my naivety that informs my ambition and a twinge of OCD that makes me re-imagine a toilet seat. The images of this elephant I’ve collected from various people UpTrees and the jumbled ideas of the elephant in my head will form this book.

It’s one thing to describe the elephant and there’s another to re-imagine it… and then what?

Tree_74h_uptrees.co.uk Ideas! There’s no shortage of them. Just looking at small collection of books on my shelf: Farewell to Growth, Six thinking hats, Small is beautiful, Eating Animals, Ecology Community and lifestyle, Letters to my grandchildren, The ecology of wisdom, Prosperity without growth, The world without us. A feast of good thinking and research squished onto the paper there and ready for me to eat. Books I’ve bought to help me fill in the blanks from my adventure UpTrees.


I got a bit stuck on the elephants in this post. Let’s remind ourselves I didn’t climb 365 elephants.

It’s still Mark Boyle’s MoneyLess Man that I’m on now and I’ll deliver something for you on that later. Two friends have already asked to borrow it having dipped into it for five minutes. It grabs you. He has a gentle and accessible way of writing. Amusing and challenging. uptrees-book-cover-01_small All the writers of these books offer an insight into how the elephant could look ‘if only’… or demonstrate how it can look in micro. They tend to lean towards a softer more inclusive view of it. Perhaps they also acknowledge the calf hanging around, and the rest of the herd, and the lack of roughage for them to eat because the land is desertifying… etc. The world is growing more polarised they tell me. It’s either black or white these days. You’re either in or out, –  a friend or an enemy. Personally I’d rather be a friend. I’d rather see that the herd of elephants and the blind folks touching them up are in it together. Are family. That sounds a bit wrong. Tree_68b5_uptrees.co.uk I’d rather be aware of the three sides of the coin, what the coin is made of, who has handled it during it’s life time, who will handle it in the future, and if we can do with out it and all it’s three sides. I’d rather believe we can actually think and action our way out of this dead end. Guide the elephant out of the zoo and onto my dinner plate. No! Back into paradise. Right! We can do so much better and we all know it! So, the question is, do you want my elephant collage on your book shelf? Bear in mind this book will totally change your life. You’ll be happier, more intelligent…etc, and you will change the world after reading it!

Here’s the first manifesto post.

Your Drawn Trees

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I have thousands of photos, hours of interviews with fantastic people UpTrees and my diaries from the year of climbing AND, I also want to populate the 200 colour page art book with graphical / illustrated images of trees from you!


(Below are some of my diaries with my own hurriedly drawn trees on!)

Uptrees note books

If you want your tree in The Art of Climbing Trees book then read these requirements:

anna widen forest -01

The work of Anna Widen. Artist and co-climber in tree number 268 with Hege Rimestad.

– What you get? Anyone who sends me a tree gets 16.5% off the price of the book and you may get it printed in The Art of Climbing Trees. (When you then buy a book here – quote the name of your image in the message to seller box).

– Your tree can be black and white or colour but I’m more likely to use images that can be laid on top of my photos or combined with the text. The more graphical the better. See the tree drawings I love by forest artist Anna Widen.

– Send them to: mytree (at) gauntlettandson (dot) com

– Please send files with 300 DPI in Jpeg or Tiff format.

– New deadline – ongoing. Will let you know it’s too late!

– Please share this call out for trees with your artist / illustrator friends, children, grandparents, twitter, facebook…etc!

Anna Widen. Forest Artist.

Work of Anna Widen.

By sending me your tree you agree to its use in the book and that I can alter, crop it…etc. to fit with the book’s design. (I will be respectful). I may not be able to use all the drawings sent in but I will let you know! Thank you!

Virginia Valli - placenta tree

Placenta tree – Virginia Valli

Some of the trees I’ve already been sent!

Bethany Jane Warren - tree

Bethany Jane Warren

Adriana Crespo

Adriana Crespo

Nick Walters_return to the trees-grey

Nick Walters

Nick Walters_trees by sea

Nick Walters

nina vandermark tree

Nina Vandermark

sam morris

Sam Morris

Manifesto + Books I’ve not read…

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So I’m going to write a Manifesto of sorts with help from 80 people I met in trees…

…And with the help of a year thinking and asking about ecological / political issues,  contemplating what family means and taking note of what the trees had to tell me, – not literally I don’t think. This manifesto may be a rant or a question at times and will be illustrated by the experiments of an ‘artist’, and writer, and fool who admits to failing at being a ‘sustainable’ and challenging enough citizen. Challenging to the status quo.uptrees-book-cover-01_small

The book will also in part be a personal journal of the adventure. What was it like to experience trees so intimately? It’s a strange thing to have done. I discovered a certain connection with trees. Maybe this was via the psychosis of the discipline; constantly on the look out for ‘today’s tree’ and paying attention to them in detail through four seasons.

But I want this journey to count for something and I owe it to the people who have and will chip in for the book, and specially to those who climbed with me and gave their time, energy and wisdom, or joy, or at least a willingness to humour me. They bothered to meet up, climb up and invest in the idea so I could perhaps make something special. Isn’t that what we all want, – to create something special while we’re here?


They got to climb a tree as well, some of them for the first time so it wasn’t all that bad I think.

Many of the jobs I’ve done left me quite removed from feeling like I’m building a better future for the world. Maybe even making things worse in some cases. So I hope this can help with rolling that ball. Would be great to make something extraordinary.

The very first idea relating to this whole thing was the picture of me holding a seed, and the caption ‘I’m going to climb this tree’. A hope that I would be there when the tree was big enough and that the seed would make it that far too. I suppose this is about optimism.

I'm going to climb this tree3

I have to say though that I’m quite a nihilist too. I see a world running wild with teenage angst. We are restless, rushing around and impulsive, displaying our ego. The whole thing is so massive too. When you travel through Europe you realise how big the problem is. House, village, city, one after the other for thousands of miles all fired up on fossil fuels and a disposable lifestyle and most of us with no intention or idea about changing anything. And this is just one small continent. We’re all hurrying to burn and use as much of everything as we can get our hands on through debt and toil. We all know this and that it’s leading to a sticky end if we don’t get our shit together.


Perhaps you could say it’s time for us to grow up and take responsibility for our actions. Tidy our room and slow down a pace to look around us and at each other. To add that: growing up doesn’t mean forgetting our childhood / adolescence, – losing our playfulness. Play leads to discovery and that’s something we all need to do; discover new ways of living. We are all crucial parts of the solution. We are the parts. Play is also a crud load of fun and that can’t be a terrible thing. Seems I’m backing up my choice of activity to explore the problems and solutions – the tree climbing.

So a Manifesto. A positioning statement. I figured I’m about old enough to write a few words about where I stand here. Like a rite of passage into a second adulthood. Turning the corner of my mid thirties. Crikey! Is it pretentious? It’s an experiment and it’s dressed with the adventure of climbing trees in 11 different countries. When you look at the wikipedia page on what a manifesto is – there’s quite a list of the ‘noteable’ ones. Why don’t I just pick one or a few of them and run with that? The ideas are out there already. Well, – I’m delivering something in my ‘language’ from where I’m standing and perhaps I have a need to use this skill I learned in school – making carefully arranged shapes to deliver messages; making words for those who can read them.


I’m not the most qualified person to write something like this but that’s partly the point. I’m anyone.

More to follow on Manifestos later.

Books I haven’t read

You might have also spotted that I’m trying to raise money so this chaotic and unusual year can be compressed into the pages of a book.

moneylessmanI bought several manifestos and other books so I thought I’d write a little bit about them. I’ve got a pile of them arrived by post and the first one I opened was Mark Boyles’ The Moneyless Man. Perhaps not directly a manifesto.

I need all the help I can get to write this Art of Climbing Trees so I’m feeding myself, and in this case on Mark’s time spent living without what we’re all so wrapped up in. Muney. I’m going to leave the other parcels unopened until I’m ready to write a little something about them. The scene from The Shawshank Redemption where Morgan Freeman’s character doesn’t immediately play the harmonica he’s given, so he can savour just owning it for a while. This comes to mind too in relation to not opening all the parcels at once. Less is more. I digress.


So I haven’t read the book yet, just started the first few chapters and already enjoying his way of telling a story, and his simple way of describing the financial system. Enough detail and not at all pretentious. It’s human. (Note to self). And I want to know what’s going to happen and how he survives the ‘project’.

If you’ve read it I invite you to comment on it with me… Below. 

There is however a contradiction with another book I’ve barely started, Debt, The First 5000 Years, by David Graeber. The notion of bartering that Mark Boyle describes, David Graeber says has never really existed in the way we all believe; villagers standing around in markets with chickens and trading them for bushels of wheat or what have you. Graeber writes how debt has always been a part of any system in the past. The debts would have been closer to home and more personally kept but debt is a currency. Debt is what currency is. A load of I.O.U’s that are endlessly passed around. “Give me a chicken and at some point I’ll get you to help me with the harvest – I know where you live. The debt is written on your conscience”. So barter in the traditionally understood sense never really existed. Maybe. This may be semantics though and I’ve not finished either book. Both seem like they are going to give me a lot. They already have.

I think they could both be important, – and again, please comment on either of them below.

So to end for now with a bit of advertising as I should, please have a look at the crowd fund website and think about helping me to realise this book of ours! You can pre order a copy that will have your name in it as a thank you… Thank you!

crowd fund promo youtube header

This is the professor who is lending his hand in selling the idea of the book.