It is an early Saturday morning, but the sun is already blazing down on the Pico do Arieiro, Madeira’s third-highest mountain that rises to 5965 feet. About thirty men, women and children, are at work on the mountain’s barren slopes. The volunteers are busy digging and hacking holes into the rocky terrain, where they will plant ragged seedlings and water them, and then surround them with protective stones. “We will keep on until we have transformed the mountain desert into an oasis,” Raimundo Quintal explains. The geographer with a PhD is omnipresent, giving advice and pitching in.