The climate activist took to the stage at Climate Live to dance and sing, to the delight of the audience and Rick Astley himself.
Greta Thunberg has a message to Earth: She’s never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna fly to Mars and desert you.
Over the weekend, Thunberg appeared at Climate Live, a youth-organized concert designed “unite people and reach the majority who aren’t currently engaged in the [climate] crisis” ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) planned for later this month. The global event had stages in several cities around the world, but Thunberg grabbed the microphone at the show in Stockholm, Sweden, and, in the stoic voice she uses to deliver a message of how dire our situations, told the audience, “We’re no strangers to love.”
Someone responded, “You know the rules and so do I.” And with that, Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” started playing and the crowd went wild. That’s right, Thunberg excavated a classic meme fossilized in Internet amber: She Rickrolled the world.
For her part, Thunberg seemed like she was having an absolute blast. The 18-year-old climate activist has become known for being a deadly serious person, but she seemed to have no problem letting loose and enjoying herself as the speakers blasted the classic tune. Thunberg and another teen danced and belted out the lyrics while the crowd gleefully shouted right back.
The performance made its way around the world on the Climate Live broadcast. It even made its way back to Rick Astley himself, who seemed utterly charmed by it. “Fantastic,” he wrote on Twitter, “And thank you so much,” he added in Swedish.
Thunberg will likely return to a more serious tone as COP26 approaches, as she has become one of the most prominent voices in pushing for dramatic action by world leaders in the fight against climate change. But maybe, just maybe, this performance is a sign of a new approach in her fight. Maybe Thunberg will Rickroll the entire United Nations and try trolling them into action. It’s worth a shot.