The concept of the Anthropocene has travelled far beyond its natural sciences origins. Since it was first proposed, the Anthropocene has inspired a barrage of socially relevant questions, stoked intense debates, and served as a muse for artists and designers. ‘Politikos’ explains that the politics of inequality, environmental ethics, and the challenges of responsible action under conditions of potentially catastrophic global change have all been connected with the Anthropocene proposal. Would scientific recognition of the Anthropocene change public perceptions and actions? What would happen if the Anthropocene was not accepted as a new epoch of geologic time? Despite many interpretations, there appears to be a common thread of the Anthropocene as crisis.