Nick Battles: From a Perch

Nick, 22, is a senior at Iowa State University studying global resource systems and agriculture & society, with a minor in learning and leadership sciences. Originally from Indianola, Iowa, his devotion to making the world a more equitable, productive, and healthy place for all, often through a lens of agricultural policy, took root in high school. Nick’s time spent in India, the Netherlands, and elsewhere has made clear to him the near-endless possibilities to solve problems that affect us all. He hopes to pursue a career of public service, whether bureaucratic, elected, domestic, or international. 


Within this deceivingly simple photo, an observer, with a keen sense of sight, can depict the past, present, and future of our planet. In the background, the green, and relatively untouched, rolling hills begin to blur with the looming and consistent presence of a brown-tinted smog. It is simultaneously indicative of the dwindling stillness offered by the clear, blue sky and the potential for ruin, as we stand on the precipice of our current climate crisis and in the literal foreground of this photo. This image, taken in Northern India, at once reveals a lasting, ancient reminder of the decimation a changing environment could present to societies everywhere and the increasingly alarming nature of the human footprint upon the sanctity of Earth today. The planet will always be here; as will crumbling evidence of our own presence. However, it is up to the person featured in the photo, and all of us, to contemplate what kind of environment and world we’d prefer to live in. As the angle of the sun casts a shadow upon the ancient archway, it signals a race against time, and our own actions, to achieve a future we all have the right to look forward to.