How about leaving some land untouched, for the use of wild life forms? Do we have to use every square foot of land to benefit some real or imagined need of our own species? The world does not owe us food, energy and whatever we may demand of it. We owe the world our lives. We should start acting like we appreciate the gift.
The discussion should be about how to reduce our numbers, our energy use and our demands from the world in a drastic way, and in a very short time. We should be thinking about changing our economic system which considers the living world a commodity for our use and abuse, as opposed to what it really is: a web of interconnected life forms of which we are a part.
We should leave untouched whatever wilderness is left, and try to restore as much land as close to its original condition as possible. Otherwise we are approaching a point very quickly that we may become another one of the extinct species in the long history of life on earth, and for the first time it will be because of our own actions, not a natural disaster.
"Nature however, works on a cyclical model---production is repeatable, waste is broken down and becomes the new feedstock eventually---nothing is wasted, and everything is used over and over again."
I agree that such a system can use the resources in a much more sustainable way and buy us some time to correct course (assuming that the powerful interests would let us adopt such a system), but our population would still be a problem. At our current population level (and increasing), we are using too much of the sun's energy trapped by the plants. Even without the suicidal madness of present day industrial capitalism (which we conveniently call progress), we would still continue degrading the living world because we would not leave enough food and space for the other species to live reasonably natural lives.
Our problem is not technological but spiritual. Unless we realize that we are here to just observe and enjoy the living world (like native Americans and many other indigenous people around the world did), not to change it, we will continue to degrade it, until we run out of millions of years worth of living capital and the web of life can no longer sustain us along with many other species.