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The concept of sustainable development has gained widespread support over the last decade, with many organizations adopting it as an important goal. The motivation behind people's interest in sustainable development is the belief that current human activities may degrade the environment and cause serious negative consequences for human populations. These concerns are especially understandable when we consider that the current practices of industrialized countries will in the future be used to support an ever-growing population. What needs to be present in any useful discussion of sustainability is a rigorous application of both relevant theory and technological expertise. These are examples of knowledge tools which can be used to organize and give meaning to data, create and analyze concepts, and synthesize the two (data and concepts) to aid in decision making. The author offers some insights which may help in the design of knowledge tools for a sustainable civilization.