(Updated: October 18, 2008)

Mission Statement

Smart Shelter Network

.... Identifies and preserves the Artistically Significant Lands of the Tabauache Corridor.

....provides research, advocacy, technological development and support to the field of Environmental Health.
.... researches, documents and supports Natural Building as the single most effective and comprehensive model of Environmentally Responsible human habitat, resource efficiency.and global climate change
....through its Land Steward Program, it effects hands on wildlife habitat restoration, non-chemical invasive species management, water quality and bio-spherical integrity.
develops, produces and utilizes the Desde la Terra Art Forms in literature, dance, sculpture, photography, music and performance media as the single most effective vehicle available to promote these endeavors.




"Desde la Terra"

"On the land, from the land, with the land.... for the benefit of the land"


In the ultimate extent... it's going to be about art. That's the highest spiritual and mental state we can attain. Even if we miss it, or aren't aware...that's probably where we're headed. Inside many of us lies a dynamo that will not rest until it finds it. Completion, perfection, balance, harmony, excitement, fulfillment, grace, surprise....they are urges for which there is no accounting...no explanation...no discernible origin.

But they never cease to lead us. Why?

(...... there's a question looking for an answer)



One of the highest of spiritual principles is to give with no expectation of return...in trust that what we need will be provided, but from a different source. Much of the application of that principle in formulating Smart Shelter's solutions to the debilitating vagaries of ADS/Environmental Sensitization simultaneous to the escalating deterioration of our environment and lands has come, not from informed wisdom, but the impossibilities of dire circumstances....more often than not with no clear indication of a prescribed direction or reason.

Natural Building

To respond to the loss of a 30 year professional building career because of the bazaar allergenic reactions to building material formaldehyde by launching into an eight year study and advocacy of Natural Building as a solution anyone can use to protect themselves and their children from Toxic Building Syndrome is not the typical response we see to a medical condition which assigns its clients to perpetual pain and exhaustion.

But, if we are willing to take responsibility for the welfare of the Planet, its resources and mankind beyond our own personal challenges...it is, indeed, the only intelligent and wise course of action for a career Architectural Designer and Builder to pursue, once it has been made obvious that conventional building is a health problem in itself.
You'll find about 600 pages filled with the builders, home owners, lenders, insurors...for strawbale, adobe, cob and earthship homes here...for those who will take the time to use them. You will also find some of the video courses and filmed home tours compiled then.

The past 12 years of Smart Shelter's existence has witnessed the growth of Environmentally Responsible building from a handful of remote innovators to the creation of school campuses and doctor's homes built along the ethical guidelines of a saner ecology. Though the major work of Smart Shelter has moved on from Natural Building (into the technology development of Micro-Habitats)...we can still support you in your similar efforts with no-cost, independent consultations, resources and education. You'll find the archives available in our Resource Files ( below)


 ADS (Advanced Immune Systemology)/ Environmental Illness
Is the planet alive...and if so, is it talking back to us? New Age guacamole??? What else explains what's happening to us??? For the past 20 years, dramatically in the past 10, these bazaar health reactions largely undiagnosed and still more ineffectively treated by the medical industry have debilitated at least 5% of the world population and effected between 17 and 28% (depending on your referencing the EPA or the World Health Organization). Added to the now increasingly recognized immune sensitization to manufactured chemical toxins is the sensitization to Electro-Magnetic Fields ...puzzling to most outside of the world of technical physics...but universally known, diagnosed and treated in Germany, Britain, Australia, Sweden, and Denmark.
Not everyone is prepared for the isolation and severity of becoming a full Land Steward. Smart Shelter constantly engages in public education, media and individual consultation (as in all our work...without cost) to whoever needs it, regardless of their level of sensitization or readiness to change. Much of the published information regarding chemical and emf sensitization is found in our Resource Files.

Besides the public education and personal consultation afforded by Smart Shelter, we are now beginning work with entities like the Aspen Institute, Aspen Physics Institute, and the Givens Institute/Conference Center-Aspen (University of Colorado Medical School) to produce the region's first international scale conference on the yet-unknown phenomenon of Electro-Magnetic Field Sensitization... with prospective participants including: Dr. Robert O. Becker (Nobel nominated for his books- Cross Currents and the Body Electric), the Prime Minister of Sweden (retired director of the World Health Organization)( herself an EMF sensitive and creating the world's first EMF safe community outside Stockholm), Dr. William Rae (Dallas, Tx) an orthopedic surgeon succumbing to EMF sensitization and now operating the nation's most advanced EMF testing clinic, and Dr. Sam Jahani (Colorado) the state's first licensed physician successfully diagnosing and supporting EMF sensitization...the certifying physician for the Ruth Matthew's Davis Case.


Land Stewardship

In this, the 12th year of Smart Shelter (2008), we are adding the final link to a long chain of solutions to Advanced Discriminatory Sensitization (ADS) and the escalating deterioration of our environment.

The Land Stewards are not young, idealistic, over-educated, whining environmentalists. They are seasoned, effective, trained and determined stewards of the native habitat...for one good reason: above all others, if the integrity of our natural environment is not preserved, they live in agony and perish. This happens to ADS/EI's daily. To design a win/win solution to two dismally lose/lose situations demonstrates the architectural principles of Buckminster Fuller (Synergetic Resonance) in an extraordinarily elegant form.

We are on the land because we have to be (to survive). We care for the land, even in times when we can't (things get very interesting 2 1/2 hours from town, thin insulation between you, 30 mph winds and 5 below zero temperatures when the pilot light on your stove won't stay lit...true story). Because of the insistence of a mutually beneficial possibility in design, the Smart Shelter Land Steward Program now manages and maintains (without cost to owners) over 1000 acres of Artistically Significant Sites in the Tabauache Corridor. We do it with people in complete disability from environmental toxicity. As a result...both the land and the stewards are restored to vibrance and health...we are living proof that this is possible...and beyond that is our art.

76 Sites are currently (2007) under identification, investigation and development in conjunction with private owners, organic agriculturists, oil and gas industry, mining corporations, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado State Parks, San Miguel County Parks and Open Spaces (Telluride), Aspen Music School and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

We are the leading regional authority in non-chemical invasive species management and biological restoration technology. With the now publicly substantiated collapse of chemical weed management (herbicides/pesticides) our techniques are universally sought out by land managers and owners either facing escalating and uncontrolled invasives problems (not curtailed with herbicides), determined not to toxify the environment with dangerous chemicals or under prosecution for ADA compliance from the sensitized public.

See the Land Steward discussion and links below for more information.

Click here for the index catalogue of texts for the Land Steward Program:

Smart Shelter Land Steward Program


The Desde la Terra Art Forms

The work of Leonardo DaVinci, Henry David Thoreau and Dolores LaChappell all carry a common thread, one that comes home to us (through the contemporary field of Deep Ecology) and touches the very foundations of a Land Steward. We are not the controllers, focus or managers of the earth. We are a part of an incredible web...one we will never understand and can only marvel at and treat with wellness, gratitude and respect. It is our lifeblood...and nowhere is that more important than in the Global Climate Change paradigm, now embraced by even the most pathetic of politicians and industry polluters.
Intelligent, sensitive and evolved creatures cannot daily live on the land in reaches intentionally selected for their Artistic Significance and not come alive with the forms of natural art...even despite the vagaries and intensity of the elements out here (this is being written in a wind vortex at the mouth of a frozen desert canyon at the base of the 12,000 ft snow locked La Sal mountains in December...barefoot with a cup of gourmet French Roast Coffee in my Micro...with the heater off and the sun warming it with passive solar design on a MacIntosh lap top fired with recaptured...not renewable ...electrical energy.)
No single example of the effective reaches of the Land Steward Program and the systemology developed in diagnosing and effectively remediating ADS...especially EMF sensitization... is more dramatic than the case of Ruth Matthews Davis (read her documents, story and legal battle histories and resources below).

In the three years of her intern/residency she has come from a complete collapse due to what is now Colorado's first medically certified case of advanced EMF sensitization, winning legal battles with Colorado Division of Unemployment, Colorado Disability and currently the Social Security Administration...by removing herself from the environment that sickened her and creating her own new home and lifestyle as a Micro/living Land Steward, she has not only enjoyed 75% health restoration, but has also seen her professional nature photography career restored... two invitational shows of her work in Ouray and a month-long show slated for this coming summer. Her dedication to surviving, willingness for a complete change and training/assistance have produced far more than would be expected...exactly in line with Bucky Fuller's predictions in his theories of Synergetic Resonance...the icing on the cake is the unbelievable explosion in her art work...in the face of complete debilitation and destruction of her past life.

These are her own words:
"We see nature in all her many moods, from the intricate beauty of a field of wildflowers, to the dazzling gold of a clear fall day, the howling, biting winds of winter, to the cold, white stillness after a snowfall. We are witness to events unknown to a casual visitor.
How could we be witness to all we have seen, experience what we have experienced, and not be changed.
In living this way, we develop a special intimacy with the land. It feeds our souls. We are part of it, and it is a part of us. .....We are not on the land to take - to extract it's riches. but to give back, caring for the land that cares for us."

Ruth Matthews Davis- ADS Land Steward/ Desde la Terra Artist

The Tabauache Corridor

Smart Shelter's Service Region encompasses the 800 year old migrational domain of the Tabauache Ute Indians (removed forcibly from its grandeur in 1881). The area is a triangle of 10,000 square miles and 400,000 human inhabitants between Aspen and Telluride, Colorado to Moab Utah.

Part of Smart Shelter's work seeks to reestablish connection with the Tabauache (Uncompahgre) Ute Tribe, now living on the Ouray Reservation in northern Utah in an attempt to formulate a way for these two very different cultures now 6 generations older to create a fairer and more intelligent future together on the land we should be sharing.

( A debt of gratitude is due to Roland McCook, Uncompahgre Ute Tribal Elder and Curator of the Ute Museum-Montrose and Smithsonian Institute Consultant...the 5th generation descendant of Chief Ouray and Chipeta for his resurrecting of the Relocation Story and the courage he constantly shows in telling that to a regional culture quite different from his own and largely ignorant of the facts.....and also to C.J. Bradford, herself a native Sioux (with incredible eyes) whose dedication has provided warmth and life to the Montrose Ute Indian Museum. These people are the Native American corollaries for those of whose forefathers took this land in a fit of gold-fevered greed. There is an old legend whose origin is not clearly known...it states that in the fifth generation, the Ute and the White Man will exchange their roles.)

There is nothing we can do about the past except to know and learn from it.

We are creating the future with each thought and action we take today.

The Ruth (Matthew's) Davis Case


If there's a heartening example of what education, changes and the Land Steward Program can do...this is it. Ruth is Colorado's first medically certified EMF Hypersensitive.

3 years after Ruth collapsed from home and workspace exposure to Electro-Magnetic Fields (in the spring of 2005) ... losing job, apartment, cats, income and hope to an EMF induced 6 month sleep deprivation cycle.... she now lives on the land, is building her own Micro-Habitat, enjoys a 75% restoration of health (destined to be complete in another year or so) is a professional Land Steward and is preparing for her third invitational Gallery Show (she is a natural photographer)
Battles with disbelieving family and friends, an uninformed State Labor Department and hostile landlord and previous employer are now won...only the Social Security Administration remains. She's fine...as long as she correctly identifies and avoids contaminating EMF sources...not a simple task in an electronic age.
Ruth's story, case documents, medical certification, EMF Resource Bibliography and procedures are presented here for others who face similar challenges.

To access the documents for Ruth's case and Story...use this link:

The Ruth Davis Case Documents


To contact Ruth email use this link: Ruth Davis <sisterida@mac.com>


...as part of the Smart Shelter Sanctioned Product Program and the Value Added Resources portion of our Land Steward Program...Ruth has launched the manufacture of "Sister Ida Tamarisk Walking Sticks"....available at:

Back of Beyond Books (83 N. Main St, Moab, Utah)

(note-she also makes the new Smart Shelter K-11 Cutter, which now irradicates weeds manually faster than they can be sprayed...but to get one, you'll have to find her...somewhere deep in the desert)


Smart Shelter Resource Files

Smart Shelter's Resource Files are the regional digital library for information on Natural Building, Land Stewardship, Environmental Sensitization, Micro-Habitats, Electro-Magnetic Fields, etc. Contained in the Resource File is the complete text accompanying the Natural Homes #101 video...an 11 hour filmed introductory course for those seriously considering Natural Building projects.... as well as published texts in our service fields. Listings begin with the course texts and then proceed alphabetically by subject. As new texts are written, they are archived for easy no-cost public access here.

See: Resource Files for these publications

The Green Pages

...a Regional Directory (Western Colorado/Eastern Utah) for service providers and resources in the fields of Natural Building and Environmental Sensitization. Inclusion in the Green Pages is by client references regarding quality and longevity of service. To open the directory click on the Green Pages title above.



Jim and Anne Ward Home (Olathe, Colorado) a Smart Shelter Strawbale/adobe design built by Graham Driscoll

Electro-Magnetic Fields and Human Health

...an unseen and exploding factor in all our well-being

especially in the cellphone/wifi age

Invisible bogeymen springing out of wall outlets, computers and cellphones...now there's a chunk of new-age quacamole...right??? Problem is...it's very real, common knowledge to any physicist and has been part of the medical community and building codes in Germany for 50 years. Why are some people so sensitized to television screens and automobiles?? Why is Sweden building an entire community free of "electro-smog"? How is it that even mainstream physicians (even in Colorado) now certify sensitization to EMF as a disability??

If the last decade of the twentieth century was about chemical sensitization in America...the first decade of the twenty first is about this...the radiation commonly known to extend from any electrical device...the reason radios and cellphones work...the fact that the entirety of human anatomy is driven by electrical signals and how manmade sources interfere with health.
Smart Shelter's Resource Files provide bibliography and case study information about EMF. Here are 3 of our publications which summarize our work:
Introduction to EMF: a summary treatise on what they are, where you find them, indications you may have that mean they are affecting you and simple ways of dealing with them....written for the novice....applicable to all.

The Bio-Energetic Anatomy: a listing a discussion of the detailed experiences and phenomenon common to those sensitized to EMF and possibilities for explanation intended as a syllabus as the search for that part of our bodies which constitute an entire metabolic system recognized by eastern medicine, but not by western physicians...what are we when you take away all physical substance. To arrive at a viable model for the Bio-Energetic Anatomy...we begin with the phenomenon that model must explain. (a work in progress...here for your early perusal and comment).

The Avetar Paradigm: a summary of case studies, startling conclusions about hypersensitization and questions about what may be behind a phenomenon escalating in parallel to our increasingly saturated lifestyles.. Patterns and questions of origin are also applicable to the now common phenomenon of Chemical Sensitization. It isn't the weaklings in our culture who are getting sick...it's the strongest. (also a work in progress)

The Renewable Energy Dilemma (the Short Paper...resolving the direction by complicating the criterion: a Smart Shelter paper on integrating health criterior regarding Alternating Current Electro-Magnetic Fields into our policy and directions for the ramp up of renewable energy...a direction toward D.C. localized supplies, the immediate possiblities of creating safe/healthy micro-spaces in your existing home...and the bigger pictures. Unless we incorporate health sustainability in the picture, no attempt at sustainability will work.


"The E.I. Standard"

....on it's way....

What seems to be of timely need for those living with Environmental Chemical Sensitization/ ADS, those close to them and those wishing to avoid thresholding into it...is a listing of widely known toxic sources, recognized acceptable alternatives (coming from the Sensitization Community's experience) and guidelines for the cleaning, care and installations of public and private environments.

That is a task of monumental proportions. Toward that end, The E.I. Standard is a beginning. The text, in its infantile and developing form is presented here in hopes that what we have been able to commit to document might be of some use....what isn't found here can be acquired by contacting us (at no cost) at: gd@smartshelter.com

To open the E.I. Standard contents page...click here: The E.I.Standard



" Sol-Solutions" was Lana Hansen's residency intern project, completed in 2002...featuring solar cooking and non-gmo food sources in Western Colorado. Her research work was thorough and remains timely...so we continue to make it available for you here.



Click Here to take you to the Index Page for Information on her Program: "Sol-Solutions"



Paperless Literature Innitiative
The number one cause of global warming today is coal-fired alternating current electrical power generation and distribution...the juice in your lightbulb...but not my computer...number one. Micro-Habitats/ Micro conversion of your living space can remedy this...see our Resource Files or contact us for information. You are the consumer who writes the check...you are responsible for the problem and the solution.
The number one remedy to Global Warming today is trees...trees, along with other vegetation forms which depend on them for survival, constitute virtually the only entity alive on the planet today with the capacity to take the environmental toxins we generate (and which cause the climate change) and convert them back into the oxygen we breathe. We need the trees standing up...not dead.

We are cutting down forests even faster than we are building power plants...and that's very fast. The number one reason for global deforestation today is to make paper pulp. When you bought the coffee in a paper cup, took out another sheet of paper you bought to write your biography, unwrapped another 75 cent Tootsie roll...you paid to have another tree killed.

Responsible Environmentalism does not start with entrapping literary art with toxic ink on the tortured bodies of murdered trees.
Artists lead civilization...despite what current politicians think. Change the habits of artists, you will eventually change the world.

Not only that, but for those of you who are literary artists, what you may well find, as many of us have, is that when you stop killing trees to make your art and find better ways to express and deliver it...audio books, performance poetry, video novels, digital music, web-published novels...the quality of the art itself takes a quantum leap both in quality and the mentality of the artist.

Work is in progress with the Telluride Writer's Guild, Aspen Writer's Foundation and the Moab Poets and Writers to offer no-cost ongoing workshops in Paperless Literature...taking existing or prospective pieces of literature (poetry, short stories, technical writing, novels) and transfer their media out of paper and into the vastly superior and flexible digital age. Many of these pieces are already done and ready for release....in fact some of them are linked on this website below.
If you are a writer and want more information or to work with us...send an email to:

Gary Duncan: gd@smartshelter.com

 Literature ....of a slightly different ilk

"The New Millennium"

This is a novel written from the other side of time.... intentionally designed to be perpetually in progress and distinctly devoid of slaughtered trees. It allows us to venture into our inevitable future for a telling look back on today. It develops literary form as a manifestation of the digital age and springboards sustainability into the pragmatic through design. Clicking the underlined title above will open the New Millennium Master Page ...which is a digital table of contents. From there you can choose a new vantage point from somewhere in the next thousand years...a series of stories forming a novel intentionally designed never to be finished, but digitally accessible and changing daily.

Tales from the Gonzo Literati

Environmental literature ??? Well, maybe if you squint a bit. Be careful reading any of this stuff...These people...the Gonzo Literati...some of the more "out there" of the rebel faction.....a small collection of wicked quick reading for the ripe and daring...enjoy. (click the underlined color title block link above for the stories).

Revisiting Ed

A novel-length piece prepared for the 2008 Moab (Utah) Confluence Desert Writer's Seminar...beginning with a reflection of the life of desert writer/social icon Ed Abbety (his contributions and landmarks in all our lives). Before it was finished, it encompassed the legacies of our fathers (however many we may have), the role of alcoholism in the American author, the future of environmentalism (now that its lack manifests itself in a full-blown disease),the founding of the Telluride Writer's Guild (now in year 29) ...as well as solving the previously unsolved mystery regarding who it is that lies in the unmarked grave on Dead Horse Point.

Memoirs of a Matriarch

the story of the real Mary Jane

A novel-length digital/web publication (fiction) (also debuted at the 2008 Moab Confluence Seminar) solving many of the mysteries concerning why things are the way they are and how they came to be in one of the most spectacular of red sandstone desert settings in Eastern Utah...while simultaneously revealing the identify, opinions and life of the also mysterious namesake of so many local places: Mary Jane...an early pioneer with a slightly different take on the institution of polygamy.


Funding Sources

Smart Shelter Network is funded by a combination of proceeds from a Private Endowment Fund established for its perpetuity, and the 10 year long generosity of James Weidner Ray's Raynier Institute of Seattle (which also funds Telluride Mountain film, Telluride Jazz, Santa Fe Jazz, performing arts in the Seattle area and many other causes in the arts and environment sectors).

We practice minimalist lifestyles and the same is true of the Network, which operates on an extremely small budget. To maintain autonomy of direction and reduce operating expenses while in turn supporting other recognized regional Non-Profits, we do not retain IRS 501-C-3 Non Profit designation. Instead, we partner with organizations with mission statements compatible with our work and funding requiring tax-exempt processing is managed through Fiscal Sponsorship arrangements with Community Office of Resource Efficiency (Aspen, Colo.), Western Slope Environmental Resource Council (Paonia) and Whole Life Network (Montrose). A portion of our funding is donated to those organizations for their administrative support.

We wish to extend our heartfelt gratitude and deep sense of personal and philanthropic loss to the legacy and passing of Jimmy Ray...a 30 year friend and benefactor without whose trust, understanding and support none of what you find here or what we do would ever have existed...and without whom there are not a few of us who would quite possibly not be alive today.



Gary Duncan

It's unbelievable that I would arrive at age 61 having survived 15 years of the excruciating and debilitating ravages of Chemical and Elector-Magnetic Sensitization with more energy and by far a higher quality of life than I had at 30.

The spiritual principles and patterns of many other Recovery Programs are directly applicable to this field and largely responsible for the understandings and directions we have today in dealing with this: allergic substance and phenomenon are invariably followed by addiction, complete abstinence (removal) is the only viable remedy, a normal life can be enjoyed once removal is attained, but despite restored health due to removal, the levels of sensitization will be for the remainder of life...progressive. Given all this, the next thing you better do...is to give it all away.

What is further astounding is that after having a $50,000/year building career and all my assets destroyed...I would find myself today intimately entwined with land 5 generations of my lineage have loved, knee deep in the physics, literature and architecture of my past ... and now returning to the performing arenas of music and poetry.

Life is what you make it, for sure.

But it certainly looks to me like there's something more than just that going on here.


Gary Duncan- Founder & Director-Smart Shelter Network

 Click here for biographies of Gary Duncan

Click here for email: gd@smartshelter.com


Advice from the Hopi Elders
 We have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour. Now you must go back and tell the people that this is THE Hour. And there are things to be considered. Where are you living? What are you doing? What are your relationships? Are you in the right relation? Where is your water? Know your garden.

 It is time to speak your truth. Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader. This could be a good time!

 There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold onto the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and they will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination.

  The elders say we must let go of the shore, and push off and into the river, Keep our eyes open, and our head above the water. See who is in there with you and Celebrate.

 At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

 The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that you do now must be done in a sacred manner And in celebration.

 "We are the ones we've been waiting for..."


The Elders, Hopi Nation, Oraibi, Arizona