Here's a TED talk from Architect William McDonough on infinite, or cradle-to-cradle design. In it, he says the "design strategy" for humanity should be this:
"Our goal is a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy and just world, with clean air, water, soil and power - economically, equitably, ecologically and elegantly enjoyed."
Sounds good to me.
I had heard something about China burning up ALL their coal and using ALL their topsoil, simply to produce (clay) bricks build shelter to house their growing population.
I guess this is where it came from. It looks like McDonough and his team have developed and implemented a viable workaround - and moved the farm land to the roofs of the city.
It appears some of us are moving in the right direction, we just need to pick up the pace.