No Crematory

This website began in response to a special use permit application filed by a local funeral director to add an accessory crematory to his funeral home location. Our community was able to unite in opposition to this plan, and a dedicated group of volunteers banded together to spread awareness in the community about the risk to our health, property values, and businesses from the nuisance of a new, ongoing source of pollution in our densely populated area with seventeen residential subdivisions, three daycare facilities, two churches and an assisted living home for the elderly.

Three months of hard work, several hundred letters, emails and phone calls later, we had organized a protest march with over 700 participants and successfully conveyed the message to our county’s planning commission and board of commissioners that this use was too intense for this location because of the largely residential population. We are so pleased! It wasn’t easy.

When first faced with this daunting task, it was noticed that there were communities who had challenged crematories near their residential areas … but with varied results. Wanting to learn from the success stories, and the failures, many hours were spent online searching blogs and forums of newspapers around the country. The successful communities all had one thing in common: someone in that community was willing and able to stop everything else they were doing and devote their energy to finding the data, and these voluntary warriors motivated their neighbors to act. These communities fought back and won – but at a huge cost. The cost was so great to most of these “activists/advocates” that once the fight was over, they mostly just wanted to go back to their normal lives. Who could blame them? The fight is exhausting. The only reward is winning – preventing or stopping or even closing down a crematory. There is no financial gain, only the stop-loss prevention of property devaluation and keeping one more pollution source away. For the communities that have lost – the cost to their health, homes, and happiness has no measure. How can you measure that?

It was decided that no community should ever have to re-invent the wheel when faced with a crematory near their homes. No community should win or lose based on whether or not there is an volunteer activist among them. No more communities should have to spend months of research just to determine if the crematory is going to be unsafe and then prove that to their local government authority.

Community Awareness Network (CAN!) is an informal grassroots organization that advocates on the local, state and national levels for change in the way the crematory industry in America is being operated and regulated, educates communities about the real nature of toxins in crematory emissions and what they can do to succeed when faced with the challenge of preventing or stopping a crematory from operating in a residential area or near schools and daycare facilities. CAN! has no dues or fees to join, the only requirement is that your group be willing to organize your community and share your results, research, and resources with the greater CAN! community.

UPDATE 1-15-2015 CAN! Grows to include 35 states and 55 individual communities

To join CAN! all you need to do is send an email to, describe your community’s situation and provide contact information. No community will be turned away, but no promises can be made as to your results – your group will still have to do the legwork. What will be different is that your research time will be drastically reduced and the trial and error period will also be cut down. By following the action plan CAN! has developed, you will eliminate the waiting periods that come from trying different things one at a time. Instead, we recommend you implement ALL of the action plan at one time. This will take extra coordination at first but it will pay off in spades – your results will be much faster and much more positive because you can avoid some of the pitfalls and mistakes that have been made in the past, and apply all of the strategic moves that have worked for others. You have nothing to lose … unless you do nothing. By failing to act you have more to lose than you can imagine.

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